Sunday, September 28, 2008

Artist Interview: Dan Zinno

"mal-adjusted to the establishment"

Dan Zinno is a talented young abstract artist living and working in Georgetown. When you meet him you are struck by his quiet, unassuming but personable presence which is a seeming contradiction to his intense and passion-filled oils. His panels are a complex layering of color and hues. His surfaces are rutted and dripped. But all is controlled and composed by the finishing glazing creating the ultimate effect of drawing the audience into the canvas. Very sophisticated work from a young artist.

Enjoy the interview below for some insights into what lies behind this wonderful work.

Tell us about art and your childhood - I was always drawing. On rainy school days, when we were forced inside for recess, I always had a crowd around my desk as I drew rocket after rocket in different colors and designs. Art was not a big deal in my home though; I come from a long line of Doctors. My father was a bit of an artist as a child. (Above my bed when I was a kid, hung a finger painting of a clown that he had done when young. I loved that picture.) My parents weren't really interested in art or art museums, but they always enrolled me in summer and afterschool programs at RISD. When I got older and decided to pursue art as a career, I would take my parents to galleries and museums. My father was so impressed with the surface of some paintings in local galleries that he would touch them to see how they were made. When we went to the MET in New York, I reminded him not to touch the Monets or he might be "escorted" out.

"you have not been paying attention"

Tell us about your training and education - My training began at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI. It is among the top private college preparatory schools in the state and was founded by an artist in the late 1800's. We were quite advanced by high school standards, working from the model and entering work into local competitions. I went on to study Painting at Boston University's School of Fine Arts. There the program was very traditional with emphasis on learning the basics - perspective, negative space, anatomy, color theory, art history, etc. Though I mostly work abstractly now, I carry many of those lessons with me. Most valuable of which come from my drawing instructor, Professor Peter Hoss. He taught us more than drawing; he taught us how to be artists....To consider why we are drawing the subject-matter we are; why we are making the marks we are making. He taught us to question ourselves and to make us consider the importance of what we are doing. He made many in the class cry. I can still hear him in my head, yelling about "picture makin'" in his strong Boston accent. He keeps me going even now.

"this too shall pass"

Can you label your style - I consider myself an abstract expressionist. If there is a subject in the picture, whether intentional or otherwise, my work is really about the paint and the surface it creates. I used to paint really thick. Layer after layer, sometimes squeezing the tube right on the canvas. I added found objects into the paint also. Then I got into thinning the paint way down and dripping it over the surface. Watching it break up, the way grease in a pan will break up when you add soap...the color floating down a river of turpentine. When I look around today, I don't see anyone really doing what I'm doing but it has its history in Abstract Expressionism.

"to seek a new beginning"

Talk about your process - I work on hard panel as opposed to canvas. I like the resistance and durability the hard surface brings. I build my own panels. I never have a plan. I usually just do the opposite of whatever I just finished. Having completed a large square painting, then next I will build a long, skinny panel. It keeps me fresh and prevents redundancy.

I work on the floor, mostly, pouring paint from a bottle or can. I tilt the panel to control the flow of the drips. I build up dozens and dozens of layers over a month or 2, periodically using a brush to clean up a problem area. I stand back and think a lot. It's easy to take your time when you have to wait for the paint to dry. I have 5-10 paintings going at the same time to keep busy. Because of this my studio is usually a mess and hard to walk through.

When I'm looking and thinking, I'm waiting for the painting to speak to me. I am listening. When it tells me what it needs, I do it. When it stops talking, it is generally finished.

"next time around"

Is there a message in your work? - The underlying message in all my work is the inexistence of permanence. Nothing lasts forever. It is an idea that most Americans do not think about and can not handle. The message is shrouded behind layers of dripping paint because I don't think that most art buyers want to be reminded that one day all that we know and love will end.

"drawn into deception"

What music do you listen to? - I listen to KUT on the radio. It is a great station. Always new music that no one else plays. A lot of smart interviews and Garrison Keillor with the Writer's Almanac. I love that. I get most of my titles from something I hear on KUT. Anytime I'm in the studio and the radio is not on, the silence is deafening.

"apologies to the next generation"

Are there any books that inspire you? - a really great book for artists is Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugene Herrigel. I was required to read it at BU (Professor Hoss' class) and I have had a copy close by ever since. For any professional artist, or aspiring one, it is definitely a must read.

Thank you, Dan, for bringing some understanding to what a professional artist does and thinks. I look forward to seeing your work in the October Art Hop Juried Show.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I forgot...

This is the last weekend for Laurel Daniel's exhibit here. Her oils are exquisite and have garnered quite a few raves. We will miss her landscapes when we take them down on Monday. If you haven't visited us to see these yet, come now.

Old business and new

Finally you can connect to this blog from Annarella's website. And always you can viit the website from my blog. (Oops I'll make sure the link is there as soon as I finish this.)

New! I'm working on setting up a store online. This is time consuming with lots of computer time and decisions. Oh, it makes my head spin. But I'm determined to work my way through the process. So far the folks at Yahoo have been very friendly and not at all condescending. I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

When I stop and realize how far I've come with computers, its amazing. I'll never be very literate. but I can cope with just a little bit of teeth-gnashing, nail-biting and name-calling.

On to some reminders - this weekend is the cattle drive and chuckwagon cook-off. Tonight starts with a chuckwagon dessert cook-off and a concert. FREE! Its all at San Gabriel park. I'm open til 8, so stop here to say hi!

Next Friday starts the Art Hop juried art show. There are some vey good pieces from artists all over Texas. The exhibit lasts the month of October and can be found at the Georgetown Library, 8th Street Studios, The Framers Gallery and Annarella. Don't miss this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Final floor clearance for 2008

For a year we've been changing here at Annarella. Our thrust has been to find furniture and accessories that are price-friendly and eco-friendly.Its been an exciting challenge, but we found Lee Furniture who make stylish, comfortable and durable upholstered sofas, chairs, benches and stools. For tables, armoires and wood goods we've decreased our imported stock and bought American. Not only are these solid wood but the carbon footprint created in their making is less. Thanks to everyone who has encouraged and supported us through this adventure.

Now the final arrival of new floor pieces is near. In order to keep our signature look - uncluttered, airy and bright - we have a select group of furniture we want to sell to make room for our last shipment. Here are some pictures and info:

corner armoire with removable shelves - originally $1898, now $898

loveseat with pillows - originally $1850, now $925

chair - originally $1619, now $800

solid mahogany armoire with leather trim and TV ready - originally $3550, now $1420

vineyard table with 2 arm chairs and 4 side chairs - originally $3965, now $1750

trestle table with hand carved apron - originally $3800, now $1900

You can see we're serious about these special savings. There are several more chairs and a gel-burning fireplace also. If you see something interesting, come in as soon as possible. At these prices we don't anticipate that these pieces will last long.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Celebrity Inspirations

Some days I just like to look at pictures for inspiration. It sounds rather lazy and indulgent, but really it is expanding my mind and feeding my imagination. So I want to share some pictures from a new design book by Margaret Russell and the editors of Elle Decor titled So Chic.

While some of the rooms featured are over the top or look very stiff - (ie. a designer did this and no one really lives here), I liked the rooms that feature comfort, airy space, and no clutter. Hope you enjoy them, too.
This is Ben Stiller's terrace. Doesn't it look comfy and not overdone? It mixes neutral colors which don't distract from the surrounding lush foliage. A few bright pillows add a punch of color for interest. Its simplicity and serenity make it seem to work for many different functions. I imagine it being a natural place for the family to gather during the day, or a great spot to relax with drinks and friends in the evening. Sarah Jessica Parker's dining room in her Bridgehampton home. Designers talk about eclectic styling and putting together elements that don't match. This is such a good example! By painting and upolstering all the different chairs in black, they all "go together," but the interest of the variety is not lost. And spotlighting them in a white room makes a wow statement.

Isn't this a spectacular tapestry over a bed covered in embroidered silk bedding and pillows? Tamara Mellon"s London bedroom is elegant and romantic but stops short of being fussy. The matching lamps and bedside chests complement the space and add function to the room, but don't distract from the drama of the focal point, tapestry and bed. The simple bouquet of flowers on only one chest adds a touch of surprise and informality. Well done!

Did you get any ideas? I certainly did. Beautiful can be simple, family friendly and comfortable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall Events in Georgetown

There is lots to do this fall in Georgetown. Having survived a scorching summer, now is the time to enjoy warm sunny days and balmy nights. Here are some great events that are coming up.

During the month of October the Georgetown Art Works has organized a juried show of paintings and photography. It will open October 3 with the public and artists invited to receptions at the Georgetown Library, 8th Street Studios, the Framers Gallery and Annarella Home.With over 80 pieces from artists all over Texas, this exhibit will run until October 30.

Get to know this exciting group, the Georgetown Art Works, visit their website and volunteer your support in a contribution of money, time or both. Their mission is to create an atmosphere that welcomes art and art education to Georgetown.
The Georgetown Palace Theater opens its 2008-2009 season with "The Producers" on Friday, September 26. Their productions equal any big city shows you will ever see. With awe-inspiring performers and talented directors, the Palace consistently delivers an entertaining evening. See their website for tickets and times.

That same weekend, September 26 and 27th, the Williamson Museum presents Go Up the Chilsom Trail. This is a great event for the family. There is an actual cattle drive with longhorns and a chuckwagon cookoff. Check out the website for a look at all the fun activities and times for the rodeo and the Saturday night concert.

For a change of pace the Georgetown Symphony Society starts its 2008-2009 season. Sorry, I'm late with this and their opening event is today, Sunday, September 14. But you can catch the rest of the season starting with Cliburn Finalist, Joyce Yang, October 26. For a listing of their entire season, information on tickets, and how to become a supporter go to their website.

October 4, enjoy the Taste of Georgetown. This year sees some changes in this event. It will be held in the newly renovated courthouse but will as always spotlight local Georgetown restaurants and Texas wineries. We have tickets available here at Annarella Home. Go to the Downtown Georgetown Association website for complete details.

Finally on October 25, downtown Georgetown will have the second City-Wide Garage and Sidewalk Sale. This was such great fun and successful when it was tried in the spring, its back.
We will be participating in the sidewalk sale aspect. It will be the last time our 1/2 off table will be seen until after the holidays. So make sure you stop by.

So much going on we've extended our hours. Now open til 8 on Friday and Saturdays. Before or after enjoying one of the fine restaurants downtown, stop in and say hi.

We always have fresh ideas for gifts and decorating.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunkering down before Ike

Well, the title says it all. Here in Georgetown as in almost all of Texas, we've gassed our cars, bought the batteries and stocked up in non-perishable food. Now we just wait for Ike. At this time it looks like central Texas will get off easy. We remain open and anticipate having regular hours for tomorrow. We hope for all our friends and family in Houston that the hurricane does little damage.

While the electricity is still on for everybody, I've got a wonderful website to look at. Shannon Lowery, from Austin, designs and makes greeting cards. Her business, Round Robin Press, has been making quite a splash with her plantable cards.

Embedded with wildflower seed or letterpressed basil and chives, these cheery bird images are perfect for saying hello to a friend or family. Imagine the recipient can plant the entire card (so easy) and then when it grows they will think of you. It's a gift of love in a small envelope.

She also designs a "back and forth" card. Send it to a friend with your message, and she can send it back to you with her own message or send it forth to another friend. Neat idea! Enjoy exploring her website. Check out her blog. Or come in to Annarella and see some.

Keep snug this weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sharing some favorites

The time between blogs just rushes by. From the beginning I've wanted to share some of my favorite blogs or websites - some of the ones who inspired me to start this blog - and still inspire and amuse me. After my initial intro I've found it difficult to find time, so today I finally can introduce the reader to two I read often.

Alicia Bock is a photographer who always has beautiful shots on her blog.
Today her mood-filled photos are full of autumn colors and images. Her work is soft and dreamy. Check out her website also.

Ruby Press is a boutique PR agency. I don't remember how I found this blog, but it is always interesting. You never know what you'll find mentioned, but I love that unpredictability.

The world of blogs is filled with interesting people, pictures and ideas. Hope you'll enjoy checking out these two. More to come later.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The New Trend in Slipcovers

Slipcovered furniture is back. But don't confuse the new trend with the old ill-fitting, constantly sliding, rumpled look of the 1900's. Or the mail order, "easy fit" tie on ones that don't fit at all.
While these have a casual look, they are custom fitted so you aren't constantly tucking, smoothing or shifting to make them look neat. Why? Because they are made by the manufacturer from the same pattern as the furniture under them.

For active families with children or pets, slipcovers are a great way to keep your furniture looking great. With the improved washability of so many fabrics, they really are easy care. Remove them, treat for any spots or stains, throw them in the washer and dryer and they will look as good as new. If you've always had to choose mud brown or a similarly uninspiring dark color just because you need something to hide as many spots as possible, with today's slipcovers you can indulge in light, bright colors and not regret it 3 months later.And as an added bonus, Lee furniture, our favorite custom furniture with slipcovers, guarantees that they will always have the patterns for all their styles, even years later, so a new fitted cover can be made whenever you are ready for a change. This truly is furniture for a lifetime of comfort and style.

Come in to see the chairs and sofas with slipcovers on our floor. They will inspire you with the many possibilities.

Just a note of interest to all. Annarella Home is now open every Friday and Saturday evening until 8.So our new hours are Mon-Thurs. 10-6, Fri and Sat. 10-8, Sunday 11-5. Of course, we are available at other times by appointment.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Artist Interview: Laurel Daniel

Annarella Home is exhibiting some of the oil paintings of Austin artist, Laurel Daniel.(You can see from the card above all the details.) Her landscapes are filled with the light and color of the Central Texas. As a plein air painter she begins outside working quickly to discern the shifting patterns of shadow and light" in her studies which are oil on paper. Then into her studio where she works on canvas to refine her subjects while still capturing the spontaneity of that one moment in time.

Hi Laurel, thanks for doing my interview questions. I always enjoy the paintings even more after talking to the artist.

Tell me about art and your childhood. Was art part of your home? The art form of my early years was music.My parents are both musicians and my dad, in particular. is a musical prodigy. There was always live music at my house. And when I learned to read that meant it was time for piano lessons. I didn't discover art until high school. When one of my clay pieces won the school contest and went to the local museum, I was out of my mind. That was the beginning.

What form did your art education and training take? I went to Wheaton College in Illinois where the art major included exposure to everything; and my two main interests were printmaking and painting. It was an important time...I learned how to learn, I learned how to create and I learned how to live.

But after college, I actually didn't paint for 20 years. I became a graphic designer with my own free-lance business. In 1999 my family moved to Austin. I closed my business and signed up for a painting class with Cassandra James. That was a significant time for me - having someone nurture my skills and motivate me to be disciplined. Now I am teaching at the Austin Museum of Art School - I've come full circle.

Can you label your style? I usually refer to it as Painterly because my brushwork is flowy and loose and has a bold energetic quality.

Can you tell us about your process? What inspires you? My inspiration comes from nature and natural forms. I spend a lot of time IN the landscape observing and, more frequently, enjoying it. My overall process begins with painting on location, en plein air, where I paint small studies. My larger work is almost always based on these.

For my actual painting process, I use "alla prima" technique.This French term refers to painting wet paint into wet paint, as opposed to letting the paint dry and building it up in layers. It requires working fast to finish while the paint is still wet and allows for luscious color interaction and wonderful soft edges.

Knowing when to stop is the hardest part. I try to step away when I think I am nearing the end and take a little break. I look at it from a distance and try to analyze what final marks it needs. I have a little mental checklist of possible problems and things to look for.

What do you want or hope the viewer to feel from your works? I don't have any underlying message in my's really a celebration of creation and life. My hope is that viewers will share in my experience by bringing their own sense of celebration to the work. I like to think in a way they are completing the painting themselves.

I enjoy hearing about what people take away from my paintings. Recently someone told me that one of my pieces "took her back" to a really happy time in her childhood - that made me smile. Another friend told me that because of a warm pink sky in one of my paintings, he began to notice that sky in real life. I LOVED that.

Do you listen to music in your studio? I do listen to music - mostly classical and usually KMFA. Occasionally I listen to books on CD. Having something in the background really frees up the right brain creativity because it engages the left brain. It's a mystery how this happens, but the left brain can get out of the way when it has something to focus on. This is important to the creative process because the left brain can sometimes lock things up by "thinking" too hard.

Any favorite books, movies or TV you enjoy for relaxation or inspiration? I love to read and really enjoy a good story to get lost in. Historical fiction is my favorite because I fancy I am learning something but with all the embellishments that suck me in. I am currently reading Christ the Lord - Out of Egypt by Anne Rice and just finished the first two segments of a Robin Hood trilogy - Hood and Scarlet (the third is yet to be finished) by Stephen Lawhead. For artistic inspiration and catharsis I highly reccomend The Art Spirit by Robert Henri.

Thanks, Laurel, for all the good insights into your art.

Take a look at her blog to catch what she is currently working on.

Stop by Annarella to see her show which will be up until September 30. Come in and meet her on September 5 from 6-8pm.